The following is an excerpt of a rough draft of the soon-to-be-published book, A Brief History of Computing: The GNU Story.
In the late 1920's electrical engineer, inventor, and government administrator Vannevar Bush began work on what would become the Rockefeller Differential Analyser. An analog computer that was an advanced version of Babbage's "engines" that, because of advances in technology, it was now possible to build. The machine was designed to solve differential equations by integration. Bush's first fully operational analyser was completed in 1931. He would produce a working version of the Rockefeller in 1942.
During his life-time, Bush, the able dean of MIT's School of Engineering, would become known, not only for developing the analyser, but for founding electronics manufacturer, Raytheon, and perhaps most notably for his significant contributions to winning WWII as the administrator of the US Office of Scientific Research and Development.
Today, he is perhaps most well known for penning an article that was published in the Atlantic Monthly, titled, "As We May Think," which describes a machine he calls "memex." He envisioned it as a kind of personal encyclopedia that would function as an extension of its owner's memory. It would contain a volume of information all associatively linked to aid in memory retention and recall. Many cite the article as the first description of what we, today, call the world wide web.
Shortly after it's creation, Bush's machine would be made obsolete, by the digital machines his research and writings detailed, but both his machines and those writings would cement his place in computer history.
Copyright © 2013 Russell James
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".